Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Cleaning Isn’t Just For Your Home. Here’s How to Spring Clean Your Life Too

Happy first day of Spring! After what felt like 864 days of winter, I’m so ready for warmer days, blooming flowers and trees, and lush green grass. Who's with me? People talk about spring cleaning - decluttering, clearing the dust and cobwebs that built up over the winter, getting rid of things you no longer need (or that no longer serve you or spark joy, if you’re into Marie Kondo’s teachings). Personally, I have a massive list of stuff to clean and organize, and I can’t wait to open the windows again and let in the fresh air. But spring cleaning can be about so much more than just washing and tidying your physical space. Spring is about rebirth and renewal, which makes it the perfect time for a personal renaissance too. This can look like a lot of things: working to change negative or destructive habits, adopting healthy new habits, changing your mindset, working on your spirituality, practicing self-care for better mental health, and much more. I’m thinking of this spring as a time to mentally, physically, and spiritually declutter. In a recent post, I talked about how 2019 is the year of big changes for me. I’m ramping up my efforts this spring and taking things to the next level. If you’re interested in doing the same, here are some ideas for ways to declutter your life this season. Clean out your social media I think a lot of us follow people we don’t really want to follow, whether it’s out of a sense of obligation, or because we once enjoyed someone’s content, or maybe because of a giveaway that required a follow. Social media can be a huge time suck and it can also mess with your head, your confidence, and your self-worth, leaving you feeling drained. Spring is a great time to curate your social media platforms and unfollow the accounts you no longer enjoy following. For me, I enjoy following people who inspire, entertain, and/or provide value of some sort. You don’t need to follow people whose seemingly picture-perfect lives make you feel bad about your own life, or incite jealousy. And if there are people you feel bad about unfollowing (a family member, a co-worker, that old classmate you occasionally run into and don’t want to deal with that awkward ‘why did you unfollow me?’ conversation), there’s a handy-dandy ‘mute’ button on most social media platforms so you can still follow/be friends with someone, but don’t have to see their content unless you choose to.
Similarly, this is a good time to clean up your social media habits. How much time each day do you spend on social media? Do you check it constantly? Spy on that person you can’t stand but still need to know what they’re up to? Lurk in groups? Watch endless YouTube videos? Mindlessly scroll through your feeds? Mindlessly post to your feeds? I think a lot of us spend way more time on social media than we realize (or than we’d like to admit), so take some time and assess your habits and cut back accordingly. Assess your habits and behaviors Think of all the things you do each day or on a regular basis. How mindful are you of how your time is being spent and what you’re doing? At the end of the day or week, do you often find yourself wondering where the time went? Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day or you’re always rolling things over from your to-do list from day to day? How often do you say “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time for that”? Sometimes we truly are busy and there’s no avoiding it, but many times we get stuck in a cycle of making excuses, procrastinating, and avoiding. This is where assessing your habits comes into play. How much time do you spend on social media? How much time do you spend watching TV? If you don’t have time for the things you claim are important to you but you marathon-watch a whole season of TV each week or you spend hours each night scrolling through social media, it’s likely time to rearrange your priorities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you completely cut out social media or TV or any of the other things you might enjoy, but it’s all about priorities and being mindful. If there are things you want to do and feel you don’t have time for, think about what you can cut back on or cut out of your life entirely. Can you get up earlier in the morning? Start saying no to the things you don’t want to do (especially when it’s something you hate doing or for someone who’s ungrateful and takes advantage of you)? Skip an episode of the show you’re watching and spend that hour exercising or reading or doing something mindful instead? Think about the times you say, “I can’t do X because…” Is it a legitimate reason or an excuse?

Your mindset, slowing down, and self-care This year, I’m all about positivity and having a healthy mindset. I’ve become that person who looks for the good, the silver lining, the lessons that can be learned from any situation. Having a positive mindset and focusing on the right things takes work. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s something that requires changes not only in your thoughts, but also in your behaviors and actions. So many people believe they have to be busy or productive all the time. ‘Hustling’ is a buzzword that gets used a lot, and it’s created a mindset of having to always be doing, doing, doing or you won’t succeed or get ahead in life. While hard work and dedication are important, so many people don’t know or have forgotten how to just be. I saw a meme one day that said ‘You are a human being, not a human doing’ and while it initially made me kind of chuckle, it’s true. There’s something to be said for slowing down, enjoying life beyond the hustle and grind, and just being. This is something that’s been a process for me. I was used to go go go and work ridiculously long hours, and I was tired and stressed most of the time. Throw in mental health struggles like depression and anxiety, and I was pretty miserable. Since I’ve learned to slow down, reset my mindset, rearrange my priorities, and make myself my top priority, I feel like a different person. What’s been working best for me is a routine of regular exercise, yoga, meditation, and journalling, among other things. These things have taught me how to slow down and be conscious of my mental, emotional, and physical states.
Spring holds so many important lessons that parallel life: no matter how long or dark or cold the winter is, spring always comes. Change and growth are beautiful. That change and growth don’t have to remain in nature, they can happen in you too. This is the perfect time to plant new seeds in your mind and see what lovely, bright things grow from them. Make yourself a priority. Make your health - both mental and physical - a priority. Figure out what’s important to you and what’s no longer serving you. Be conscious of your thoughts and how you speak to and about yourself. Slow down and truly enjoy your life. Wishing you all a beautiful season of rebirth and renewal.

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